#844 – Bartholomew Quill by Thor Hanson and Dana Arnim

April is Poetry Month. Here is a story about finding yourself/your identity and your place in the world – all in nicely written verse. (Images to post very soon.)

bartholomew quill cover
Bartholomew Quill: A Crow’s Quest to Know Who’s Who
Written by Thor Hanson
Illustrated by Dana Arnim
Little Bigfoot    4/05/2016
32 pages      Ages 4—8

“Bartholomew Quill is clever and curious, but he doesn’t know quite who or what he is. He has feathers not fur, so he can’t be a moose; he is black like a puffin but his beak is the wrong color. This determined bird won’t stop asking questions until he discovers what the reader knows—Bartholomew Quill is a crow!” [inside jacket]

“Bartholomew Quill was a crow long ago,
when all the world was new.
When the bears and the bees
and the hares and the trees
were learning to tell which was who.”
[back cover]

The world is a new and exciting place, unblemished by centuries of use. The creatures inhabiting this world need to find their identity and their place in it. All are looking for family—or at least others like themselves. Bartholomew Quill is no different. He flies the skies searching. When Bartholomew finds another animal, he asks,

“Am I one of you?”

Bartholomew knows his feathers and beak are black. Upon approaching a group of birds with beaks and black bodies he asks,

“Do I do what you do?”

One of the birds tells Bartholomew, she can “dive and float in a waterproof coat.” And while it’s true she and Bartholomew are both black and sleek, there is one distinctive trait that rules out being related. Despite a few commonalities, Bartholomew fails to find another animal like himself, until he sees his own reflection in the water below. Soon, the reflection multiplies as a flock of crows joins Bartholomew, giving him the identity and fellowship he has been diligently seeking.

Bartholomew Quill is a visually appealing picture book about identity, finding out who you are, and where you belong. Bartholomew flies the clear skies, while below him creatures—bears, moose, raccoons, skunks, deer, foxes—are looking, meeting, and matching up, as if Noah is waiting for them at the Ark. Arnim’s watercolor and ink illustrations bring Bartholomew and his story to life, with her realistic animals and beautiful forests, oceans, and trees.

Thor Hanson, a conservation biologist and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow (Science Writing), has joined the ranks of children’s authors with his picture book debut, Bartholomew Quill. As children listen to the story, hoping Bartholomew learns what he is and finds the company he seeks, they will enjoy the sounds they hear. The distinctive meter flows naturally from one verse to the next.

I like Bartholomew Quill. The spreads don’t pop, which I think is good. The atmosphere is one of discovery, both individually and as a group. Arnim’s illustrations are perfect for this. The final spread shows a happy Bartholomew flying with his flock. The sky and clouds are no longer a single color, as in previous spreads, as if hope joined the world. Also in the final spread, I love how Arnim turned Bartholomew’s head toward the reader. The first time I saw him. I swear he winked.

Extras include suggested activities and questions for the classroom

BARTHOLOMEW QUILL: A CROW’S QUEST TO KNOW WHO’S WHO. Text copyright © 2016 by Thor Hanson. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Dana Arnim. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little Bigfoot, Seattle, WA.

AmazonBook DepositoryIndie BooksLittle Bigfoot.

Find Bartholomew Quill on Goodreads HERE.

Thor Hanson:  http://www.thorhanson.net/
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Dana Arnim:  http://www.danaarnim.com/
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Little Bigfoot:  http://www.sasquatchbooks.com/
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Little Bigfoot is the children’s imprint of Sasquatch Books.

BARTHOLOMEW QUILL. Illustrations © 2016 by Dana Arnim. Used by permission of Little Bigfoot.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: Bartholomew Quill: A Crow’s Quest to Know Who’s Who by Thor Hanson & Dana Arnim, and received from Little Bigfoot, (an imprint of Sasquatch Books), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

(Images to post very soon.)


6 thoughts on “#844 – Bartholomew Quill by Thor Hanson and Dana Arnim

  1. I really enjoyed reading your review on Bartholomew Quill. I felt like I was flying alongside Bartholomew on his beautifully described journey of discovery. I like that the story was inspired from the authors line of work, so interesting.


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